Five Poems

by Simon Perchik

It never begins, you
carry off this rain
not yet dry enough to be afraid

–there’s no sky either
just your reaching down
and for the hundred hundredth time

this tombstone is still sharp
though what you touch
is too wide, stays soft

and what falls through
still sifts for dirt
that won’t come closer

is already bleeding
and in your heart
as sand and thirst.

And the gust that circles these graves
–they wander off, sweeping away
everything except the dirt

by now night after night
herded as small stones
though it’s no longer raining

–what takes you by the hand
is this mud-caked headwind
holding you back so nothing dries

looks just for your lips
taken one beside the other
from your face and later.

Just below the surface one arm
loosens in front the other
the way rock still breaks apart

for air –this bench leaks
needs nails and the wobble
full blown, half beaten into it

half by your lips growing here
as grass that never strikes bottom
–kisses! needs cheeks to lock

when they come close and drown
–wood is useless now
though you count backwards

lifting the bench, empty it
on the ground that longs for you
and one bare hand as its own.

Together with your knees
already half hands
–even the sky is lessened

lets this rain speak for two
the way stars leave you
–you come too close

and though you whisper
the dirt collapses, cools
till no one can escape

except their darkness
and the distance
that is not rain, that clings

tightens, makes from your voice
each cry smaller and smaller
back into your arms.

As if this dirt can’t overflow
has nothing behind it
except your fingertips
further and further apart

–you look for the waterline
the way each morning dries
closing in on you, half crater
half while this clay jar

begins to drink again
with its mouth and the flower
at home with you, here and there
covers you and nothing between.


Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review,The Nation, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013).  For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at

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